Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodato

The tagline reads: "the most controversial movie ever made." And for once, the proud studios are right. Made in 1980 on a shoestring budget, Cannibal Holocaust was unlike any other movie before it. Shot in Columbia as a realistic but fake documentary, the film centres on a professor who goes in search of some student filmmakers who went missing in the jungle. Along the way he encounters a few primitive tribes, only to discover the horrific truth in the rolls of film he recovers. When the professor screens the footage he learns that his suspicions were accurate: the students were ritualistically killed and cannibalised. Though the intent of Deodato was to make the entire film appear as a genuine documentary, the narrative, largely due to the role of the "acting" professor, feels plotted and fabricated. The footage shot by the students, however, is frighteningly real, especially the scenes of their gruesome deaths (including a truly squirm-inducing castration scene) and cannibalism. This 25th anniversary uncut limited edition also includes a second disc that tells the story behind the film, which is just as entertaining and worthy of a film. Here, Deodato tells of how real he wanted it to appear and in doing so he asked the actors to sign a contract stating they'd disappear for a year. Big mistake. Soon after the film screened it was deemed a "snuff flick" and he was arrested and brought to court, in which he then had to seek out the hidden actors to prove their existence and clear his name. It also tells of the protests from animal rights groups over the vicious death scenes of a muskrat, turtle, monkey and pig (to which actor Robert Kerman gives a sly "fuck off" reaction). Film buffs will most be intrigued in the discussion of Cannibal Holocaust's influence on Blair Witch 18 years later. Producers and the director are quite upfront with their disgusted reactions, and after watching the original hoax documentary, you'll understand why. (Grindhouse/Ryko)